West Cork’s Picker Pals are back to help battle litter

November 13th, 2021 7:05 AM

By Southern Star Team

County mayor Gillian Coughlan with Patrick Jackson, creator of the Picker Pals programme and Méabh Hennessy of Scoil Phádraig Naofa, with second class pupils.

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SCHOOLS across West Cork are taking part in a national programme to help tackle the increasing litter problem with second class in Scoil Phádraig Naofa in Bandon re-launching the ‘Picker Pals’ programme for this school year.

This is the second year in a row that schools across the county have had the opportunity to take part in the litter-picking programme. With support from Cork County Council and the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications, almost 100 classrooms across the county will be involved in this year’s programme.

Organised by the environmental group Voice (Voice of Irish Concern for the Environment), it aims to motivate children to become young environmentalists by equipping them with picker packs containing everything children need to go litter-picking.

‘Cork County Council is very pleased to continue our support of the Picker Pals programme for schools. It is fantastic to see the number of participating Cork County schools grow from 10 in 2020 to almost 100 in just one year,’ county mayor Cllr Gillian Coughlan said.

‘It is vitally important to empower our young people and by giving the children a leadership role in litter-picking, as this programme does, it will inspire them to keep this anti-litter attitude throughout their lives, benefiting everyone in Cork for many years to come.’

Using upcycled and fully reusable packaging, Picker Pals provide each classroom with bespoke story and activity books in both Irish and English, and picker-uppers which are taken home by a different child every week. Each child goes on a litter-picking adventure in their local area with their family and reports back to their classmates on their activity.

Teachers and principals are also very enthusiastic about the programme with 100% of those involved saying they would recommend the programme to other teachers.

Méabh Hennessy, principal, Scoil Phádraig Naofa, Bandon added: ‘We are delighted to join the Picker Pals programme. The older children in our school already take part in regular litter picks in town so it is great to have a programme that extends down the school to younger classes and their families. We are working to develop a sense of responsible citizenship in our pupils. The children are really enjoying it and understand the importance of caring for our environment. It is great to show them that efforts they make in their local community can make a difference.’

Picker Pals is free to selected participating classrooms. To get involved, see

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